Fall Sports Calendar Heats Up At UNC

Fall sports season is officially in full swing on campus.

The UNC men’s soccer season gets underway Friday night as the #8 Tar Heels host Cal Poly, 7:30 pm at Fetzer Field. Carolina also hosts St. Louis on Sunday at 7:30.

Also this weekend, UNC women’s soccer is in Florida: Friday evening they’re in Fort Myers facing Florida Gulf Coast at 7 pm; then on Sunday they’re in Boca Raton, taking on Florida Atlantic at 1:00.

The Tar Heel volleyball team gets its season under way this weekend in the Penn State Classic. The Heels face Georgia Southern at 5 pm Friday, then a doubleheader on Saturday against West Virginia at 1 pm and host Penn State at 7.

And the Tar Heel field hockey team, #1 in the nation, is in Winston-Salem for the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. Saturday at 2 pm, they face #10 Michigan, then they take on Iowa at 2 pm Sunday.

Of course Carolina football still has a week before its season begins, down in Atlanta against the Georgia Bulldogs. But the team got some news this week too, as seven Tar Heels have been named to the watch list for this year’s Senior Bowl. Center Lucas Crowley, tackle Jon Heck, wide receiver Mack Hollins, cornerback Des Lawrence, tailback T.J. Logan, guard Caleb Peterson, and wide receiver/punt returner Ryan Switzer are all on the list.

The Reese’s Senior Bowl will take place in Mobile, Alabama on January 28; it’s considered the nation’s premier college football all-star game.


Chansky’s Notebook: No Food Projectiles, Please

Stop the presses, more big news with Carolina athletics.

Now that UNC has responded to the amended Notice of Allegations and Lew Margolis has told us that the Tar Heels should forfeit every victory back to the Choo Choo Justice era, Bubba’s staff has been working on some more really important stuff this summer hoping to increase attendance or concession revenue.

Not sure which. The athletic department released its new policy about bringing food into Olympic sports venues while announcing the price of concessions had been reduced dramatically.

Let’s see. Junior hot dogs and soft drinks can now be purchased for $1 at the softball and baseball stadium, Fetzer Field and Carmichael Arena. Don’t be running out to buy your season passes to all these sports just yet. Bottomless popcorn, Papa John’s pizza and Bojangles Chicken Supremes will still cost you 7 or 8 bucks.

There was actually a release sent out about these new prices, along with news that we can now bring our own food into most Tar Heel games that aren’t football and men’s basketball. But there are restrictions, mind you, when packing up your picnic basket. Such as:

  • Food items should be wrapped, bagged or left inside a container.
  • Food containers must be soft-sided and small enough to fit under the spectator’s seat, or the 20 empty seats next to you.
  • Non-glass and non-alcoholic beverages, 20 ounces or less and factory-sealed, and soft-sided coolers with the plastic liner removed are permitted. I repeat, no plastic liners.
  • And my personal favorite of the new policies: Food that might be thrown as a projectile must be sliced or sectioned, such as oranges, apples and other fruits.

Cut out this list and put it on your refrigerator door. NOW!

By the way, UNC will have members of the ROTC there to determine what is a food projectile, and event management will ask that you return said projectiles to your vehicle or be discarded, meaning tossed in the garbage, not be accepted for storage. The illegal food, not you.

The release said, “We hope these changes will encourage our fans to attend more events and support our fantastic student-athletes and teams.”

And P.S., the NCAA can still go to hell.


Failed UNC Leadership and the ANOA

The UNC response to the amended notice of allegations by the NCAA is, sadly, a missed opportunity to demonstrate leadership against the corrupt quagmire of Big Time intercollegiate sports. In announcing the release of its response, the university unconvincingly and patronizingly claimed that “the question is whether the matters raised by the allegations meet the jurisdictional, procedural and substantive requirements of the NCAA constitution and bylaws—rules that govern athletics, not academic quality and oversight.”

The UNC mission is “to serve as a center for scholarship, research, and creativity.” As UNC’s numerous investigations and initiatives attest, Big Time sports undermines that mission. Instead of questioning the legitimacy of the NCAA to concern itself with academic quality and oversight, here’s what I hope UNC would say to the NCAA about athletics.

“Twenty years of fraudulent classes involving 3,000 students, disproportionately athletes, struck at the heart of our mission.  We have undertaken wide-ranging investigations, implemented reforms, and held a few individuals accountable.  Due to all of the compromises inherent in Big Time sports, we doubt, however, that the NCAA is capable of administering the appropriate penalties. Because athletics is ultimately about wins and losses, UNC will impose on itself the only meaningful penalty. We will forfeit all games involving any athlete who was enrolled in any of these fraudulent classes.  In order to be perfectly clear that academic cheating in the sports enterprise is unacceptable, we are using the definitive sports measure–wins and losses—not only to hold ourselves accountable, but to model—or teach, if you will—the appropriate action that the NCAA and other universities should take.”


— Lew Margolis.



Tar Heels Finish Top 4 in Men’s and Women’s Capital One Cups

It was truly a special year for UNC athletics, as the Tar Heels wrapped up the 2015-16 season with a pair of top-four finishes in the Capital One Cup.

When results were announced Monday for the competition–which measures cumulative on-field performance across each men’s and women’s sport–UNC’s men placed second while its women tied for fourth.

In the award’s six-year history, the Tar Heels have been among the most successful programs–but this is still just the second time they’ve placed both their men and women in the top 10.

Oklahoma and Stanford are the only other schools that achieved the same honor this season.

Points are earned based on the amount of top-10 finishes in NCAA Division I Championships, as well as final coaches’ polls across 21 women’s and 20 men’s sports.

Championships in both men’s and women’s lacrosse helped the Tar Heel cause the most–while title game appearances by men’s basketball and field hockey also held a significant amount of weight.

This honor also comes just a couple weeks after UNC’s seventh place showing in the Directors’ Cup–which combines men’s and women’s sports into a single award.

In total, the Tar Heel women–who won the Capital One Cup in 2012-13–have finished in the top 10 in five out of six years.

The men, however, achieved their best finish this season while earning a third top-10.


UNC Ranks Seventh in Final Directors’ Cup Standings

Thursday morning brought the announcement that–for the 19th time in the award’s 23-year history–the Tar Heels again finished in the top 10 of the Learfield Director’s Cup standings.

After finishing the 2015-16 school year with a final tally of 1089.5 points, the Tar Heels ended up seventh overall–but were the highest ranked school to come from the ACC.

The Directors’ Cup measures postseason success and hands out points to a maximum of 10 men’s and 10 women’s programs per school.

Leading the way for the Tar Heels were their men’s and women’s lacrosse programs–which each earned 100 points toward UNC’s total by winning their sport’s national championships.

Runner-up finishes by men’s basketball and field hockey also played a large role in the Tar Heels’ final standing. In total, the school had 12 programs finish the season ranked in the top 20 of their respective sports.

There were no surprises at the top of the leaderboard, as Stanford took home the trophy for an astonishing 22nd consecutive year. The Cardinal racked up 1526.5 points to finish ahead of Ohio State, Michigan, Southern California and Florida.

UNC, which won the 1993-94 title, is the only other athletic program to ever win the prize. The Tar Heels’ 19 top 10 finishes rank fourth all-time behind only Stanford, Florida and UCLA.

All of the ACC’s other members have combined for just 18 top 10 finishes–or one less than UNC has by itself.

Eighth-place Virginia was the only other school from the conference to finish in the top 10 this year.


Three UNC Athletes Honored with Patterson Medals

Three UNC student-athletes have been honored with the Patterson Medal, the most prestigious athletic award given by the university.

Kristen Brown. Photo via UNC.

Kristen Brown. Photo via UNC.

The honorees are Kristen Brown, Marcus Paige and Emily Wold, the university announced on Thursday.

Brown is the Atlantic Coast Conference’s all-time softball home run leader and is the first softball player to win a Patterson Medal since the award was established in 1924.

Paige – the all-time leader in three-point field goals at UNC – is the 28th men’s basketball player to receive the award and fifth in the last 25 years, following Antawn Jamison in 1998, Brendan Haywood in 2001, Tyler Hansbrough in 2009 and Tyler Zeller in 2012.

Wold is a midfielder for the field hockey team and is a three-time first-team All-American. Wold joins three prior recipients – Cindy Werley in 1998, Rachel Dawson in 2008 and Katelyn Falgowski in 2012 – from the field hockey program.

The Patterson Medal is based primarily on career athletic accomplishments, according to the university.

Emily Wold. Photo via UNC.

Emily Wold. Photo via UNC.

The recipients must have played at least three seasons for the Tar Heels. Sportsmanship and leadership are also considered. Dr. Joseph Patterson first presented the medal in 1924 to honor the memory of his brother, John Durand Patterson.

The Patterson family will help present the medals to Brown, Paige and Wold at ceremonies during the 2016-17 school year.


Dr. Harry Stafford: Hometown Hero

Dr. Harry Stafford is Friday’s Hometown Hero.

Dr. Stafford has been a team physician for UNC for the past 8 years.  Currently, he is the head primary-care doctor for UNC’s women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track & field, and the cross country teams.

He also sees patients from the community at UNC Family Medicine.

You can nominate your own Hometown Hero.  WCHL has honored local members of our community everyday since 2002.


Let’s Give Back the Victories

And so we wait.

What action will the NCAA take against UNC for its athletic/academic wrongdoings?

Personally, I do not understand why the NCAA has any moral authority in these matters in any case. It is, after all, the enabler of the Big Time Sports schemes. I am much more concerned about the deliberations of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools from which a stern sentence could literally cost the university billions of dollars.

What troubles me now about the scandal is the narrow, legalistic framing. Does this email confirm corrupt behavior or exonerate the sender? What is the definition of “behavior?”  What is the definition of “sender?” Will an NCAA verdict and sentence bring a close to the scandal and its horrific costs to the moral core and the reputation of the University?

In my view, this narrow framing will not bring an end.  The University, does, however, have it within its own power to do the right thing, regardless of the legal contortions. This we know. Hundreds of presumed students participated in games as athletes, while getting credit for fraudulent courses. It matters not whether Roy Williams or Sylvia Hatchell or the entire Faculty Council were active collaborators or ignorant souls about these indisputable misdeeds, each individual has to live with their own conscience. We know that University procedures and officials made it possible for UNC teams to win by encouraging and enabling dishonesty at the vital core of any university–integrity in the classroom.

The University can own this responsibility by forfeiting the games, returning the tainted championship banners, acknowledging simply and clearly, “we violated the basic trust placed in us as a university and we take responsibility for making amends.”  In Dostoyevsky’s monumental psychological drama, Crime and Punishment, the very first we hear from Raskolnikov, the tormented protagonist, is “all is in a man’s hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice, that’s an axiom.

It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most…”

If victories are what define athletics, let’s not be afraid to give them back.


— Lew Margolis


Chansky’s Notebook: Forever’s Voice

Like other legends we know, Woody’s voice will always be with us.

The way Woody Durham and his family handled his recent diagnosis is like he called UNC games in the heyday of his 40-year career as Voice of the Tar Heels. Perfectly.

Friends and those who heard Woody speak in recent years knew something was amiss, and while he was trying to find out exactly what, his family made the decision that he would no longer be in the public eye. No more speaking engagements or appearances while they learned why all the words weren’t coming out just right.

As we now know, Woody has primary progressive cognitive aphasia, a condition in a part of the brain that does not allow thoughts to translate into spoken or written words seamlessly. Primary is the key adjective here, because under the care of Dr. Jim Kurz at UNC, Woody may be able to live a next-to-normal life in retirement. He’ll see you, recognize you and say hello, but he may not say much more.

That’s okay; Woody has said enough as the umbilical cord to Carolina sports for two generations. And, with the advent of ESPN and other cable channels ad nauseam, no more radio broadcasters will grow into legends of his ilk. Too many people are now watching the tube.

Woody is the third of a Hall of Fame trio that was stricken with a cognitive impairment. He and Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge spent so much time together over four decades that you can’t help but wonder whether they ate at the wrong restaurant or drank from the same bad water fountain too many times.

Smith passed away in February of last year after a long battle with progressive dementia. His memory was so keen for facts, names and faces, and was such a thorough thinker, that it was almost as if he wore out his mind. Guthridge had the sharpest wit of the three, and could only crack an occasional one-liner before his death three months after Smith’s.

Now, in the ultimate irony, the Voice of the Tar Heels can no longer put long iambic pentameters together that became household phrases, words like Go Where You Go and Do What You Do.

We’ve already missed that distinctive and stylistic voice over the last few years, but Woody’s own courageous confession has given all of us more reason to remember it forever.

Hear this podcast and others from Art Chansky by clicking here.


Woody Durham Diagnosed with Disorder Affecting Language Expression

Longtime Voice of the Tar Heels Woody Durham has been diagnosed with a neurocognitive condition, the university announced on Wednesday.

The announcement came in the form of an open letter from Durham:

“Last winter, I was diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder, primary progressive aphasia, that affects my language expression.  I want to tell you this because I will no longer be doing any public speaking. I can still enjoy the company of friends and traveling with my wife, Jean, but I am not able to address groups as I did in the past.  While learning of this diagnosis was a bit of a shock for Jean and me, and yes, quite an ironic one at that, it also brought a sense of relief to us in terms of understanding what was happening to me and how best to deal with it.

Our entire family is grateful for the incredible care we have received from a group of very talented medical professionals, led by Dr. James Kurz and Dr. Daniel Kaufer, of UNC Health Care. They have helped me adapt to this diagnosis and set up a treatment plan that will help me manage my day-to-day activities as I continue to enjoy retirement.

As in the past, I will continue to attend Carolina functions and sporting events as my schedule permits; and be part of civic and other charitable endeavors throughout the state.  As part of these events, we want to make people more aware of primary progressive aphasia, and the impact that these neurocognitive disorders can have on individuals, families and friends.  Along with raising awareness, we hope to encourage financial support for continued research and treatment in our state, as well as nationally.

I also hope to meet many more of the people that enjoyed our radio broadcasts in the 40 years I was privileged to be the “Voice of the Tar Heels.” Those greetings and kind words have meant so much to me in the last five years, and hold a very special place in my heart.”

Listen to Woody read the letter here.

Chansky’s Notebook: Forever’s Voice

Durham retired in 2011 after 40 years behind the mic for Tar Heel men’s basketball and football games. Durham graduated from UNC in 1963 and went on to call more than 1,800 broadcasts on the Tar Heel Sports Network.

Durham won North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year 13 times and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame honored Durham in 2015 with the Curt Gowdy Award.